Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Death Marked by Leah Cypess

Death Marked
(Death Sworn #2)
Publication Date: May 3, 2015
Hardcover, 368 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.

At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they'd battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn't want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.

Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni's story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.

My Review

Death Sworn was one of my favorite books of 2014. I loved its romance, its action, and all of its fantasy elements! So I was super-duper excited to read the sequel. Unfortunately, I forgot that Leah Cypess’s endings are not the best—they’re actually pretty bad.

I knew going into this book that Ileni wasn’t going to be hanging out with Sorin a lot, I’d just hoped they’d have time together eventually. But it didn’t happen. And I was sad. I really liked Sorin’s character. He was the type of assassin I imagine actual assassins are like. And Ileni wasn’t a strong bada$$ character, but she was growing into one. I was excited to see her growth. But once again, it never happened.

There’s also some new characters thrown into the mix. One of which is a potential love interest for Ileni. The other side characters are just kind of thrown into the story and aren’t explored as much as they could be.

I enjoyed the setting of the story, in the Academy. I thought that exploring the “enemy” through its magic techniques and the mountain was awesome. We were allowed to really question what was right and wrong, and really there was no black and white answer.

However, this exploration of the Academy left little room (as I mentioned earlier) for romance. And romance is something I cannot do without. Additionally, I cannot do without Sorin. And that brings me to the ending (this might be kind of SPOILERY considering my last comment, so you may want to leave now), I like how things weren’t all wrapped up like they normally are in action stories that revolve around fixing societies, but I just don’t like some of the choices the characters made to get to that ending.

All in all, I can’t decide how much I liked Death Marked. I definitely enjoyed it less than its predecessor, but I liked it a little bit. Would I recommend it? Not if you’re looking for a fantasy book filled with romance. If you just want some magic in your life (hee hee. See what I did there?), then I’d say go for it.

*Note: I purchased this book myself.

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